Energy Miracles

Bradford Plumer looks at the chances of innovation solving our energy problem:

Expecting that a game-changing technology can be invented, perfected, and prepared for mass deployment in just 20 years is a real gamble. This isn't a task akin to the Apollo program or Manhattan Project, because the end project has to be cheap and widely accessible.

What's more, some of the best innovation comes from broadly implementing already available technologyyour humdrum wind turbines or efficiency measures. (The policy mechanisms for doing so would likely involve a carbon price and some government support.) As those power sources get deployed, prices start tumbling and incremental tweaks get made. The technology improves over time. Indeed, as Joe Romm notes, that's how PCs became so ubiquitou...Given the need to start cutting emissions quickly, that sort of innovation will be far more important in the short-termand far more likely to make a surprisingly large impact. So, yes, a miracle or two would be terrific, but that can't be the only plan.